By Rich Levine
On Wednesday night, as the Sox kicked off the second game of their doubleheader with Seattle, The Comeback was playing on another channel.
If you're not familiar, The Comeback is easily one of the Top-5 Seinfeld shows of all time; one of those shows that you probably remember as being two or three individual episodes.
It has George and the Jerk Store, Jerry playing tennis with Milos, and Elaine falling in love with Vincent the video store clerk.
For the purpose of this column, it's also the episode where Kramer watches a movie called The Other Side of Darkness and becomes obsessed with comas. In the process, he decides that he'd rather die than ever be in a coma himself, and wants Elaine to be in charge of pulling the plug. Just in case.
"Yeah, because you're perfect," he tells her. "You're a calculating, cold-hearted businesswoman. And when there's dirty work to be done, you don't mind stomping on a few throats."
This comes after Kramer has already offered that job to Jerry, but backs out because he's not confident that Jerry would actually go through with.
"You can't let go!" Kramer screams, before doing something funny.
Anyway, I'm on my couch Wednesday night, watching this unfold in between innings, and two things are on my mind.
1. Nice, this is one of the "Hot Elaine" episodes!
2. Man, when it comes to the 2010 Red Sox, I'm just like Jerry I can't let go.
No. 1 needs no explanation, so I'll just do my best on No. 2.
Basically, I've had this team on life support since August 1.
At the time, they'd just closed July in a 10-13 funk that transformed their 1 12-game wild card-lead into a 5 12-game deficit. They were still dealing with substantial injuries. On top of that, the trade deadline had passed and the Sox were about as active as a hungover snail. They weren't playing well. The organization didn't seem very concerned with getting better. Not to mention, the Yanks and Rays were looking stronger every day!
At this point, I'd seen enough teams with "it" and the 2010 Sox didn't fit that mold. The next night, they lost at home to the Indians, and lost Kevin Youkilis for the season. I had the plug in my grasps, and was ready to yank it like I was starting a mower.
But something in me couldn't let go yet, and hasn't been able to since.
At first I thought, "OK, let's give them until the end of that four-game series in New York. If they don't take three games, then they're through."
When they only won two, I thought, "But, hey, now Pedroia's coming back! If anyone can turn this around, Pedey can! Let's see if they can go on a little run with him in the lineup, and if not, they're through."
When Pedroia lasted only two games, I thought, "Well, they can still beat up on the Angels, Jays and Mariners, and then they go to Tampa for three and then . . . who knows?"
I feel stupid already. Am I seriously still wondering whether they can put this all together? How long will I let this drag on for? Where's Elaine Benes when you need her?
But while we've had ample reason to write the Sox off as dead at many points over this last month, the truth is that they've yet to actually die. For 24 games in August, we've felt like they were about to roll over; to pack it in, and allow us to move on. But these guys are like that cow in Me, Myself and Irene.
The strange thing is that they're not even getting better. They're just not getting worse. I mean, has there ever been a point where they've actually turned us into believers? No, they've just consistently done enough to remind us that they still have a pulse. Enough to keep us interested and watching; enough to make us write things like, "and then they go to Tampa for three and then . . . who knows?"
Really, it feels silly. This is a team that is without their Nos. 1, 2 and 4 hitters from Opening Day, plus their starting center fielder. They're 5 12 games behind the best two teams in baseball. How does any of that add up?
Again, it doesn't. It hasn't for a while. But somehow we're still here, sitting and wondering, "What if they sweep this weekend? What if Lackey, Lester, Buchholz and Lester all put it together? What if Papi and V-Mart find a groove? What if Lowell pulls a Rasheed Wallace and gives them a month of magic before riding off into retirement?
What if . . . what if . . . what if . . .
For all the what-ifs, there's one thing I do know for sure: Without a sweep this weekend, the Sox are through.
(Then again, they do still have six games left against the Yankees . . . )